VT Halter Marine, a company of ST Engineering North America, has been awarded a grant of nearly $1.7 million for a 1,250‐ton press brake by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), the company reported on Wednesday.
“We appreciate MARAD for its continued support of VT Halter Marine and our employees,” said Ron Baczkowski, President and CEO. “This grant enables us to replace and modernize our equipment and processes to fuel future growth along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The new machinery will replace the existing 750-ton press brake, which is 45 years old and has exceeded its useful life. While it has served us well, the existing machinery frequently requires repair and is no longer supported by spare parts.”
The grant was part of a discretionary grant to 24 U.S. shipyards through the Small Shipyard Grant Program, totaling $19.6 million. The grant will fund the modernization of shipyards, improving efficiency in constructing vessels. VT Halter Marine will purchase, install and train personnel to operate the new press brake.
The modernized press brake will accommodate the increased thicknesses and higher grades of materials used in VT Halter Marine’s ongoing and future programs. VT Halter Marine will also utilize a larger capacity unit to expedite work.
With VT Halter Marine’s work, the press brake will double the bending force capacity and will be capable of computer numerically controlled operations using data taken directly from engineering drawings to increase efficiency and productivity.
The company will use the braking unit to create flanged plate girders, flanged brackets, bilge keel plates, simple curvature hull plates and conical shapes such as anchor bolsters from flat sheets of steel or aluminum plate.
VT Halter Marine will continue to bolster its employee base as design and planning continues in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Polar Security Cutter. The company has projected to cut the first plate of steel a year from now, and a new press brake is vital to the vessel’s construction.
Obtaining this new, modern equipment enables VT Halter Marine to continue to leverage information technology and to modernize our shipyard as we build America’s first heavy icebreaker (the Polar Security Cutter) in 40 years and other U.S. government and commercial new construction programs,” Baczkowski said.
About VT Halter Marine/ ST Engineering
VT Halter Marine, the marine operations of ST Engineering North America, is based in Pascagoula, Miss., and is a leader in the design and construction of medium-sized ships in the United States. VT Halter Marine designs, builds and repairs a wide variety of ocean-going vessels such as patrol vessels, oil recovery vessels, oil cargo vessels, ferries, logistic support vessels, auxiliaries, and research and survey vessels. Please visit www.vthaltermarine.com.
ST Engineering North America is the U.S. headquarters of ST Engineering, a global technology and engineering group, providing integrated solutions to the commercial and government markets in the aerospace, electronics, land systems, and marine sectors. Within the U.S., we have major operations in 17 cities across 13 states and more than 5,000 employees, providing innovative products and services across these diverse market segments.